a. Best Practices (D. Davis for C. Singh, Chair): Dr. Davis reported that the Best Practices Committee’s major focus this year is a review of CIDDE’s testing services. For information, a presentation on the computer-based testing services will be presented to the Committee in January. As part of this review, the Committee has decided that a benchmarking effort will be conducted first to gather information. Four to five universities will be asked to participate, and telephone interviews will be conducted by knowledgeable CIDDE staff. Most of the institutions to be selected already provide the same type of services that CIDDE offers. A draft questionnaire that focuses on testing services for both distance learning and for academic course exams was distributed. One Council member asked if our faculty using the testing services have been asked to provide feedback. Dr. Davis stated that this has been done, but most of the feedback has related to requests for additional services that CIDDE cannot provide due to higher priorities and lack of resources.
b. Faculty Development Committee (N. Day for K. Kearns, Chair): The Faculty Development Committee reviewed a proposal from Dr. Barbara Frey, CIDDE Senior Instructional Designer. This proposal, entitled “Promoting a Positive Classroom Environment,” is a computer-based faculty survey designed to collect data to identify specific classroom disruptions and to determine concrete strategies for managing such disruptions. It was developed as a follow-up to a request from a University Senate Committee to conduct workshops on this topic. The Faculty Development Committee has expressed interest in this project and recommended discussion by the full Council. However, there were not enough members present, and Dr. Blair indicated that this project will be reviewed again during the January meeting.
The committee also discussed topics for the upcoming Summer Institutes and is considering “critical thinking in the information age,” but no formal title has been developed. The idea is to talk about strategies that are useful in helping students do more with available information, i.e., go to higher levels of employing critical thinking. Dr. Blair commented that “critical thinking” has been used previously; Dr. Davis suggested that a subtitle could be added.
A handout on New Faculty Focus Groups (formerly, New Faculty Forums) was distributed and has been recommended for the Spring term. The goals of these sessions are to identify unmet needs of new faculty regarding teaching and learning and to identify existing procedures and services that new faculty view as useful. New tenure-stream faculty (from the past two years) will be invited, based on recommendation from the Deans. Logistics (dates, location, ACIE facilitators) still need to be worked out.